‘Cooking with the Community’ brings Medway together

As part of our series looking at the various projects supported by the Rochester Riverside Community Board, next in the spotlight is ‘Cooking with the Community’.

Run by Chatham Memorial Synagogue, this is an interactive cookery project that has been created to break down barriers between communities.

The project began with a series of interactive cookery tutorials with up to twelve attendees at each session. Participants learned how to cook a range of Jewish cultural foods, while at the same time learning about Jewish culture and how it is both similar and different to other cultures around us in Rochester. Each attendee was also given a ‘Cooking with the Community’ booklet containing recipes such as honey cake, challah (a traditional Jewish bread), latkes (small pancakes popular at Chanukah) and more, as well as information about how Jewish culture interacts with food.

The children and adults who attended the sessions came from a range of faiths, including Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Hindu and Bahai, alongside people of no faith at all.

‘Cooking with the Community’ has been designed not to be a religious project, but instead a cross-community initiative that strengthens community cohesion and benefits the emotional health of those taking part. Through the simple activity of sharing a meal with new friends, participants from many diverse communities have been able to come together in an atmosphere of mutual respect.

The project will culminate with an event for up to 100 people where the community will prepare food and come together to share this in a barrier-free environment. This celebration has had to be delayed due to covid-19, but the organisers are committed to the event taking place when it is safe to do so.

Dalia Halpern-Matthews, Chair of trustees at Chatham Memorial Synagogue and the organiser, commented: “We were delighted to receive a grant from the Rochester Riverside Community Board for the ‘Cooking with the Community’ project. At Chatham Memorial Synagogue, we work for both the Jewish and the wider communities, and this project has been a vital way of promoting the ethos that we are all the same, and that (as Jo Cox said) we have more in common than that which divides us. In addition, we welcome any person, of any faith or no faith, to attend any of our services or events and we operate a fully inclusive policy for all our activities.”

The Rochester Riverside Community Board is proud to have funded Cooking with the Community and we look forward to joining the celebration, which we hope will be very soon.

Story posted: 20/08/2020

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